A WHITEGATE psychotherapist has teamed up with Aviva to help people affected by life-limiting conditions.

The insurance firm is piloting Surviving Me, a self-help audio a workbook that help people cope with the emotional challenges, changing abilities and limitations their diagnosis may bring.

The project, which has had support from Baroness Sally Greengross, is the work of self-employed therapist Helen Ranson.

“I myself have been personally affected as I have had friends and relatives over the last five years have had life-limiting conditions, some we have now lost,” Helen said.

“It’s a personal passion to try and help people in this dreadful situation where they are faced with their own mortality.

“Being diagnosed with a life-limiting condition is hugely traumatic, not just for the people with these conditions but for their families as well. The ripple effect is enormous.”

Helen, who is a qualified psychotherapist with 20 years’ experience, said there is a lack of psychological support for people who have received life-changing diagnoses.

She said Surviving Me will help bridge the gap of emotional and psychological support for individuals facing these diagnoses.

Helen said: “When someone receives a life-changing diagnosis, it's common for them to feel like they are losing their identity.

“I developed Surviving Me to help them focus on their inner strengths and core qualities, reframe their lives and reconnect with who they are.

“Surviving Me helps people work through and resolve personal issues, tell their story in their own words and have the best day they can, every day.”

Doug Wright, medical director at Aviva Health, said: “At Aviva Health, we’re delighted to support the launch of Surviving Me.

“For individuals facing a life changing diagnosis it can be an incredibly difficult time, and while medical and practical considerations are well catered for by the NHS and private health insurers, there is often a gaping void in terms of emotional and psychological support.

“Initially, Aviva will be offering Surviving Me as a free resource to its health insurance customers who are diagnosed with cancer.

We plan to offer the programme more widely, to customers diagnosed with a life-changing condition, in the future.”

Helen is also a volunteer for the Family Support and Counselling team at St Luke’s Hospice.

She ultimately wants to set up a foundation and roll the programme out through the UK’s hospice sector, starting with St Luke’s.

“St Luke’s are an amazing place. My initial support will be for the. Hopefully that will the ball rolling with other investors.”